The Mail Service of the Syrian Pilgrimage Caravan
Pages 9

The second mail is the post of Mada’in. When the caravan reaches that station and stays [65] there for a day, the pilgrims write letters to their relatives. The postman or courier takes the letters and returns to Damascus. Upon his arrival, two cannons fire a salute from the fort to announce it. Then [everything] is repeated as with the first post [from Ma'an]. When the people hear the two cannons, they say, “The courier of M ada’in has arrived!” They rush to pick up the letters. The advantage of these letters is that during their journey the pilgrims have learnt what they need for the return trip. They tell their relatives, accordingly, to send their needs to them with the [relief] convoy, as the courier from Mada’in arrives [in Damascus] a day or two before it leaves. He may arrive after the convoy’s departure [however] and then there is no opportunity to send the pilgrims what they have requested with the convoy.